As one of the hottest topics in the 2016 Presidential election, it is necessary to wonder why a serious initiative on tax reform in the country has taken so long. However, seeing as President Donald Trump’s administration has been unable to reach any form of compromise in 2017, it seems to be expected that one of the most contested aspects of U.S. civil and political culture continues to be unresolved. Americans continue to wonder how much of their income will go to a government that seems unable to decide where or what any of that money should go toward.
With the recent announcement from Trump that he would not reduce the amount of income, before taxes, that can be saved in a 401(k) plan, it has become obvious that the grand Republican plan to completely cut taxes across the board is nothing more than a farce. The further talks of a flat tax or a mass reduction in the tax rate are both incredibly vague and inefficient on a practical level for the average U.S. citizen unless one is part of that stratum of society that does not even need to consider taxes. As of late, that demographic is clearly who the Republican party is working for and toward.
The culture against taxation needs to be deconstructed in this country. What needs to be discussed is that taxation is what allows funding for the most essential yet basic of needs for a community such as roads, schools and power lines.
More importantly, the Republican tax plan to eliminate certain tax breaks and somehow make up for further revenue losses over the next several decades seems to hold no basis in practicality, nor does it have any concrete details as to how it may affect regular Americans in the long run.
First, taxes need to be raised on the upper income-earners of society while simultaneously removing the tax protections they have lobbied for over the years in order to constantly excuse themselves from paying their fair share.
Second, a federal minimum wage must be mandated to such that Americans need not fear their income going primarily to taxes. The fear of taxation stems from the fact that disposable income has been decreasing as greater percentages of U.S. citizens’ incomes face rising interests and mortgage rates, resulting in a higher cost of living.
It is not difficult to see a tax as not only an extra expense but a cruel one as well.
The Republican tax plan begins with the assumption that somehow reducing taxes will create more disposable income. By contrast, a lack of accessibility to basic needs will only increase the cost of those needs. This creates a loop in which the lack of taxes will eventually require a much higher increase in the very taxes they hoped to avoid. More importantly, these eventually higher taxes will hit the poorest U.S. citizens the hardest, thus affecting the very same people who have been fed the myth of “taxation as theft” since former president Ronald Reagan’s administration.
Under the new administration, citizens will have to deal with their descendants paying more taxes in a crumbling United States wherein infrastructure and power become more expensive and privatized. We must begin to see taxation not as a necessary evil, but as a motion for the common good.
Reuven Glezer is a junior studying Literary Form and Writing. He is the Managing Editor for Refract Magazine.